Housing Counseling Project
Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. has entered into an agreement with the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency to provide housing counseling services under the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program.
This agreement provides for the legal aid providers of the Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network (PLAN) to provide non-litigation legal counseling services to individuals facing a potential foreclosure of their home.
Under the program, Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network, Inc. has also agreed to provide training to the legal aid and probono attorneys who will be providing the counseling service to eligible homeowners. Part of this training effort included a Continuing Legal Education program for attorneys that was offered around the state via simulcast, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, in March 2009. The video recording of this training can be viewed at this link.
Attorneys providing the counseling service include the attorney staff of PLAN legal aid providers, as well as pro bono counsel from across Pennsylvania who agree to volunteer their services to homeowners facing foreclosure. Resources for advocates working in the program are available here.
Under this program, an atttorney may assist a homeowner facing an emminent judicial foreclosure, by performing the following tasks, or other services that help prevent foreclosure:
- Interpreting loan documents;
- Providing advice on foreclosure rights and options;
- Negotiating with lenders;
- Assisting with nullifying rescue scams;
- Assisting with HEMAP Applications;
- Providing and assessing of Bankruptcy Options;
- Providing advice and counsel to hotlines of participating counseling agencies;
- Working with an agency counselor to help a homeowner;
- Preparing documents for homeowners for non-civil litigation purposes;
- Assisting in mediation procedures that are non-court related; and
- Providing any other assistance necessary prior to a foreclosure filing.
In order to get legal counseling under this program, homeowners must first contact an approved housing counseling agency in their region for assistance.
After consulting with a counselor at the housing counseling agency, a homeowner can then be referred to a PLAN program for legal counsel from a staff attorney, or to a pro bono attorney volunteering to assist homowners.
Individuals seeking housing counseling assistance due to an impending foreclosure of their home should contact an approved housing counseling agency immediately for assistance and possible referral to a PLAN program.